Three best steam inhalers
It's no secret that one of the worst parts of having a cold is the congestion. You can try cold medicine to relieve it, but if you prefer a more natural approach, a steam inhaler might be a better choice. These handheld machines boil water and release the steam so you can breathe it in and receive some temporary relief from your symptoms. Steam inhalers are also great for allergy sufferers. If you're shopping for a steam inhaler, here is a brief overview of what you need to know before you buy.
Considerations when choosing steam inhalers
Steam inhalers fall into two main types. The most common type is used for relieving congestion caused by colds or flu and rehydrating dry, irritated mucous membranes caused by seasonal allergies. The other type of steam inhaler is designed for skin treatments. The steam helps to open up the pores, making them easier to clean out. Think about how you plan to use the steam inhaler and choose a unit that's compatible with your goals.
Once you've decided on the type of steam inhaler you need, here are a few other factors to consider as you shop.
Size: Most steam inhalers are compact and easy to carry with you. You'll want to pay attention to the tank size as well. A small tank will have to be refilled more often.
Ease of use: Make sure the unit you choose has simple controls and an owner's manual to walk you through the operation. You should also pay attention to the length of the power cord and the design of the unit. A short cord or a bulky unit that won't fit comfortably in your hand can make the product more difficult to use.
Controls: Some units come with adjustable steam controls, so you can choose the precise level of steam you want. You should note that if you're using it on a higher setting, the water in the tank won't last as long.
Durability: Most steam inhalers are made of plastic because this material is sturdy and won't rust. However, some models are flimsier than others and could be prone to chipping or breaking. Read customer reviews to get a sense of how well a unit holds up over time.
Aromatherapy use: Some steam inhalers enable you to add essential oils to the water for aromatherapy or to help open up your airways even further, but not all models are compatible with essential oils. If you plan on using oils, make sure you choose an inhaler that is designed for aromatherapy.
Q. What kind of water can I use in my steam inhaler?
A. Most steam inhalers can be filled with tap water. The heating mechanism boils the water, which should remove any harmful bacteria that might be in it. However, some models can only be used with distilled water, so it's a good idea to check the owner's manual before using the inhaler.
Q. How do steam inhalers help congestion?
A. Steam inhalers work to loosen up mucus in your nose and throat, which can help you to breathe more easily. It can also help improve circulation in the area, and this can reduce the pressure that causes congestion headaches.
Steam inhalers we recommend
Best of the best: MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler
Our take: This is a high-quality personal steam inhaler that's backed by excellent customer service.
What we like: Simple for beginners to use. Comes with adjustable temperature settings, so you can choose the one that's right for you. There's no need to boil water, and if the steam inhaler breaks during the first year after purchase, the company will replace it for free.
What we dislike: This steam inhaler isn't compatible with essential oils. Using them in the unit could damage the internal mechanism.
Best bang for your buck: Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler
Our take: This is a nice alternative to our top pick if you're looking for an affordable steam inhaler that you can use with essential oils.
What we like: This inhaler comes with a flexible mask and adjustable steam controls, as well as a five-foot power cord. It has an aromatherapy tank, so you can use it with essential oils if you choose.
What we dislike: A few complaints of units that stopped working after a short time, but this doesn't appear to be a widespread issue.
Choice 3: Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler
Our take: Consider this model if you're looking for a basic steam inhaler that provides a consistent, warm mist to help relieve occasional congestion.
What we like: Can be filled with tap water and provides 15 minutes of steam at a time. It comes with adjustable steam controls and a comfortable hood that fits easily over your mouth and nose.
What we dislike: You can't use essential oils in this inhaler, and some say the steam gets too hot.
Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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